New England Clam Chowder with Razor Clams

Over the past 10 years I have been looking for the best clam chowder recipe I could find.  My friend, Grover has also been on this quest and so the two of us have scoured the earth for the perfect …

Source: New England Clam Chowder with Razor Clams

Big Yellow Squash Lasagna

How many times have you left for a few days, only to return to your garden and find a huge ass yellow squash?  This happens to me all the time.  I got to talking to an old timer friend of mine and he was telling me how his mamma used to put some “red sauce” and cheese in them, then cook them,  and they were delicious.  He promised me that I would love it.  So when I found this big boy in the garden I thought to myself, “lets give her a try.”

What to do when you got a big ass squash in the garden….

So the first thing I need to do is make the Silver Fox Meat Sauce.  This is my go too meat red sauce.  If you haven’t made it before off this blog, hit this link and make it.  It will change your Italian life.

The next thing I need to do is recruit a garlic and onion chopper.

There is something about cooking with my girls that I just love.  I really enjoy every second in the kitchen with each of them.  This is my youngest Mady, and she does not enjoy her eyes crying when she chops garlic.

Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.


The first step of this process is to hollow out the squash, but leave about an inch at the bottom and 1/2 inch of core on the inside.  Here is a little trick, when you lay the squash down after you core it out.  If it flips over, because it is unbalanced, take your knife and shave the bottom flat so it rest evenly in the bottom of the cooking dish.


I fill the “squash boat” with red sauce, I even made a few meat balls for this one and stuffed them into, then covered with a good mozzarella cheese.

Stuffed and ready for the oven

It is really quite simple. Once the Squashed is stuffed with sauce, and covered in cheese. Put in oven and cook at 350 for about 40 minutes.

The cheese is golden brown and it smells wonderful.

My wife thinks this is better than lasagna with pasta, I personally believe that is blasphemy because I am Italian and pasta runs in my blood.  However, pride and blood aside this is pretty darn good and a great way to eat those over sized squash and feed a family.


The meatballs in this dish really made it pop.  However, if you don’t have time do not worry about it.  I have had it both ways and its great anyway you try it.  I actually make sure to grow a couple extra large squash for this occasion.


The Hunting Chef

BBQ Oysters with Chimi Mayo and Manchego Cheese

If you follow this blog, you will know there is a lot of BBQ oyster throw downs conducted in my world and on this blog.  I have searched the world over, and have conducted hours upon hours of research in the library, as well as time in the test kitchen perfecting what I thought was the perfect bbq oyster.  This recipe comes from my peeps down at Portland’s new hot spot for dining….Ox Restaurant. The place is rocking Argentinian style food that packs a punch straight in the mouth of from flavor town.  If you ever want to get your taste buds a work out, go to Ox.  You will not be disappointed, I am a huge fan of what they got going on in that place.

First thing you want to do is go get yourself some fresh oysters to shuck.  I am a big fan of the Hood Canal Kumotos, I cannot get enough of them when I visit.

Shrimping 101

You really don’t want an oyster that is too small for the bbq.  Try to get ones in the middle range.  First thing you want to do is make the Chimichuri mayo.  This is not hard, but it is essential you make it from scratch.

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups veggie oil

In a food processor, combine egg yolks, salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard, and water and process until blended.  While still blending, drizzle oil in very small increments until the mixture is emulsified.  You can use this mayonnaise for sandwiches, but I need 1/2 cup for the Chimi Mayo


Chimi Mayo

  • 1/2 cup of homemade mayo
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of minced onions
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Also needed:

  • 3 ounces of grated Manchego cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of  lemon juice

Shuck the oyster and slide the knife along the top shell to detach the oyster cleanly.  Discard top shell and detach each oyster from its bottom shell.  Clean away any grit or broken shells.  DO NOT SPILL THE JUICES.

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I use a nice cast iron skillet and put a large couple of pieces of waded up alum foil to keep the oysters in perfect place.  Then add the sauce over the oyster.


Then layer the manchego cheese.  The better the quality of cheese, the better the product.  I used a 15 year old aged manchego cheese.

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I have my coals going on my Green egg bbq.  All I have to do is put them on, gently close the lid to help melt the cheese and serve.  Get ready for a fight over these bad boys, one of the best oyster recipes on the planet.

Hope you enjoy,

The Hunting Chef

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BBQ Brisket Part 3

We have made the infamous brisket several times, each time I said I would never make it again.  I guess I am a man who believes that if you have to put bbq sauce on a grilled piece of meat then you did something wrong.  I have had this brisket vs. tri-tip argument several times over the years and even had a good old fashion bbq throw down.

You may remember this story:

A few weeks ago we tried bbq beef ribs over a cherry wood fire and it was spectacular.  So for the Fourth of July, we thought….lets try brisket one more time!  Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.  This time we were going to do things different.  We were going to try to inject a marinade into the brisket itself.

  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper


Take a syringe and start injecting into the meat.  Just keep stabbing like Norman at the Bates Hotel.

I generously season, then wrap in Saran wrap and refrigerate over night.


I don’t do anything amazing, the meat and the smoke should do most of the talking here.  I simply do what the old grill masters do….Salt, pepper, garlic salt, and I use a wee little bit of Ancho seasoning.  I hear guys talk about their brisket dry rub all the time and it makes me laugh.  If you are going to smoke it for 12 hours, go for simple.

The next morning, I start a fire at 0600 hours.


You know there is something to be said about enjoying a fresh cup of coffee at day break in front of the fire I find a bit relaxing. Wayne and I bolted the meat in our cooking contraption.  Todd G was out of town so he wasn’t able to attend, but when he saw we made brisket he texted back something to the effect “Never thought I would see you guys doing that lame cut of meat again.”


The trick here is getting it away from the flames, getting a good amount of smoke to it, and not so much heat.  Slow and Easy…..Slow and Easy.


This doesn’t look slow…we made an adjustment after the photo.  The meat looks really low and close to the fire, we sear it then turn it upside down and smoke it. The number one rule about cooking over fire, actually there are two that can really mess up your end result.  Drinking booze and not adjusting to the fire all the time.  Lets discuss those in detail shall we?

Slow cooking meat on fire requires you to make adjustments at all time.  Make sure you have a shovel.  You need to move the wood around so you are not getting direct flame to the meat.  You also want plenty of smoke, so you are always adjusting coals and wood so the smoke comes up and permeates the meat.  This process on brisket should take 10-13 hours.  If you start drinking, you are going to forget the fire, and or get too drunk 12 hours later.  You also have to turn the meat, so there is some work involved here.  Trust me, we used to attempt this and it always turned out bad. There is also a third rule if you are a Northerner.  Always have a back up plan in case the brisket sucks.  We chose chicken, that we brined the night before.

IMG_9018 We have a nice little crust on the outside.


We remove the brisket for the moment of truth.  You can see the meat resting here, the oils look great.  The bark looks good.  We are ready to cut the brisket, Wayne sharpens his blade and I get the camera rolling.

The taste is good, and there is a good smoke ring to it.  Moisture was good at first, but almost immediately after slicing the brisket it gets dry.  No wonder everyone puts bbq sauce to mask it.  It was by far the best brisket we have ever made but in the end we were not impressed with how it turned out.  It was like JW from Texas said  after trying the tri-tip vs. brisket….tri tip hands down.

I know I am going to get all those brisket people bombing me with how good it is, and that I don’t have a clue on what we are doing up here in Oregon.  In fact I just got emailed this one from my friend as he read this post in Georgia.  I had to edit this post and add it.


There is nothing on this picture that makes me hungry.  The brisket is covered in bbq sauce.  The brisket we made, we used NO BBQ SAUCE.  Don’t get me wrong, it tasted good.  However, the cut of the meat lacks flavor and energy.  There is a reason it was fed to the prisoners of the civil war.  It was also considered “Prison meat” by butchers standards, because that’s where they sold all of their brisket cuts.  The butchers these days get a premium price for brisket which absolutely floors me.  They couldn’t give flank steak and brisket away 20 years ago and now they want a premium.  I guess that is what keeps me in the woods looking for elk.

Hope you enjoyed the story.

The Hunting Chef


The smoked chicken was absolutely the bomb!





The BBQ Mafia, Cherry Wood Pit, and Beef Rib Roast

Wayne, Todd, and I decided that we were all gonna get together and BBQ.  When this happens, we pretty much cook ALL day, and eat all day.  It is pure BBQ bliss, and we always try something new.  We decided to replicate an Argentine asado dish that I had several times down in Patagonia.  Simply just a beef rib roast, what we would find out later is that though it seems simple, it taste like a meat from the Gods…..the BBQ Gods.

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The day begins with a 6 am fire being started out back in the pit

As we let the wood render down, it is important to do meat preparation on the roast.  When I said it was simple, it really is.  Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, and olive oil.

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Sprinkle with Garlic Salt, pepper, salt, and olive oil.

I like to take the bones at each end and release them from the meat, essentially cutting around the bone.  That way when the meat cooks it shrinks, and the bones are exposed.

Just cut around the bone then make a little slit in the middle down the side.  Then wrap them in Saran wrap and let sit for an hour or so. I let mine sit about 3 hours.

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You can do this the night before and let sit overnight in the fridge.

When the boys arrived we tied them to our handy dandy metal meat truss.

Don’t they look really, really serious?  Probably because I am barking at them.

When the fire is ready, and the wood burned down to coals, we place our truss in the pit over the coals.

Make sure to add wood to keep the fire going but to add cherry wood smoke flavor.

Then we sit, and wait…..and wait…and wait.  Then get bored and make something….

How about Steamer clams?

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of parsley
  • 2 tablespoon of chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic


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Steamer Clams are served Y’all

Once those are consumed, we check the meat again.

2 hours into it, we can start smelling the masterpiece.

We actually turn the apparatus, to allow the top section to get some heat.  Its actually a pretty easy system.  Every once in awhile someone walks by and throws a piece of cherry wood on the pile to keep the heat going.  Nothing too hot, just enough to keep it low and slow.  Always put the fire down wind of the meat.  That way you get the flavor and the constant heat.  Easy to manage that way.

We got hungry again and had to make bbq artichokes with pepper mayo.

Then it was back to check the bbq.

About 4 hours into the cooking.

You can see the bones getting exposed, perfectly.  However we are getting hungry again.

So I whip up some oysters with Argentina chimichuri mayo

Then shuck some oysters, put a little of this sauce over it and add 6 month aged Manchego cheese and bbq.  This recipe needs a blog all to itself so look for it.

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Cooked on a cast iron skillet over the bbq.

We all agreed that this was amazing.  We almost forgot about the meat on the fire, until we smelled it.

6.5 hours in we couldn’t take it anymore.  It was time to eat.

We sliced the ribs individually and you could see the perfect smoke ring and smell the oils transmitting into the air from the roasted meat.

The bark wasn’t too tough, just perfect.  The taste was amazing.

The meat cut like butter with a knife.  Some ate it right off the bone like Fred Flintstone, I used a knife and fork and it was one of the best things I have ever ate off a bbq.  You could taste the cherry wood roasted into the meat itself.

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One of my favorite days with the boys on the pit.  Amazing job fellas.  These are the days we will remember!

The Hunting Chef

Mule Deer hunting in Mexico

I have hunted Mule deer in Mexico four times over the past 12 years.  I can tell you this, every single time it is completely different.  I have been in great hunting areas but with the worse lodge and food imaginable.  The hunting was good, so you overlooked the faults.  Whether it be the weather conditions, tough area, or lack of game a hunter will deal with it all the best way they can.  Nothing, however, compared to my last Mule trip in Sonora, Mexico.  This trip was so bad it took me almost a year to write about it.  I have been with some bad outfitter’s in my time, as much as I hunt out of the country it is bound to happen.  I usually do not write about the outfitter in a negative way, I just don’t mention their true name to give them advertising per say.  I feel like in this case, it is my duty to say something because this outfitter is seriously bad news for the hunting world.  I even wrote to Safari Club International a very nice letter explaining everything that happened leading up to the hunt, as well as the hunt (if you would call it that) itself.  We bought this hunt at the SCI convention in Las Vegas so I thought they would want some feedback on the outfitters they are accepting free donations from since SCI is endorsing them.  I never got a reply email from SCI, and I doubt that I will support them in the future.  So this is how it works, an outfitter or vendor donates a hunt or product for the auction.  The auction gives points to how much the actual donation went for back to the vendor or outfitter, and points determine where your booth is going to be.  The more money you raise for the auction, the better position your booth will have as a result of it.  Bottom line, SCI really doesn’t care about the product they are representing, they care only about the money they raise.  This is a BIG machine, with a huge corporate overhead for payroll.  This is my opinion based off my experience and their lack of communication on the subject.  I was told at the auction that they did receive the email, and that is the last I heard about it.

So here is the story.  My buddy Dave wanted to hunt in Sonora, Mexico and I said I would join him.  We have bought trips at the SCI convention for Africa, Canada, Argentina, Patagonia, and United States in the past and for the most part had good experiences.   I wasn’t able to attend the auction because I had to go with a friend to drive some prototype Baja vehicle outside of Vegas.  Upon my return, Dave said he successfully bid on the Mule deer hunt and got it as well as the Coues deer hunt, he then added two more slots for both hunts.  I thought the outfitter should be happy about that.  I met Carlos at the show for a brief 10 minutes, and asked him about the lodging and the land he was guiding.  He assured me that the lodge was great and really comfortable, and that the property was 100 percent private.  That was the first two lies in the first five minutes of conversation I would later find out.  I then asked Carlos what the best dates would be for the rut to come down and hunt.  He assured us that Jan 3-10 was the best.  I said “Are you sure, because in my experience the later we are in January the better odds of the bucks being in rut.”  He replied “I have been doing this a long time, trust me.” So I trusted him, and that was my biggest mistake.  Three lies in 10 minutes I would later find out.

When I returned home from Vegas I was contacted fairly quickly about paying the deposit for the hunts.  I thought to myself “Wow that was fast.”  We were already pot committed on the SCI hunts, and he wanted 50% down immediately.  I googled his outfitter name and nothing really came up, with exception to  There is hardly any information on Big Game Outfitters (Mexico).  His website had photos of bucks dating from the 1970s to who knows when.  There are no photos or information on the lodge, and I could only find one review from years ago that was not positive to say the least.  He also sent over a four page contract.  Trust me, read the damn thing.  Carlos will use his contract to protect himself and take advantage of every hunting scenario.  Also, a word to the wise when or if you purchase one of his hunts via SCI or any other auction READ THE FINE PRINT!!

This was from this year’s SCI Auction in Las Vegas: Donation number: 34285 MULE DEER HUNT FOR TWO.

Donated by :Big Game Outfitters (Mexico) Carlos G. Hermosillo Valued at $23,000.00

Here is what you have to read closely.  “Not included are landowner permit ($4500.00), GST (16% on Final Auction price, license and landowner permit) and gratuities.”  What in fact is a GST? No other auction for any hunt had that listed, and wouldn’t you think if he was leasing some property the landowner permit would be apart of the $23,000.00?  Then he adds 16 percent to the final auction price?  Where does this money go to? Then another cost for additional landowner permit?  Does this sound confusing?

Donation number 34286 COUES DEER HUNT FOR TWO.

Donated by: Big Game Outfitters (Mexico) Carlos G Hermosillo Valued at $17,000.00

First off, is there a Coues Deer hunt anywhere in the world that cost $8500.00 per person?  Typically a Coues deer hunt in Mexico runs anywhere from $3500-$5000.00 being on the high end for trophy hunting.  Again, read the fine print “Not included are landowner permits ($3500.00/hunter), GST (16% on final auction price, license and landowner permit), any before/after hunt expenses and gratuities.”

Okay, so you get shelled for an additional $3500.00 and $2720.00 (16% of $17000.00 which the hunt didn’t go for that but I am showing you as an example.  Adding $6,220.00 to the auction price.  SCI should be ashamed for allowing this to happen.

This is the funny part, and really makes me look even dumber.  HE SUBBED IT OUT TO ANOTHER OUTFITTER, and if you looked at his web page (which I had to find out later after I hunted there).  He charges $3500-$4500.00 per hunter.  Shifty Carlos Hermosillo is making 100 percent profit on a donation.  Keep in mind, we added two hunters to each hunt.  I know….I know…I asked for this.  However, I give you this story for others not to repeat.  I didn’t ask SCI for money back, all I wanted to do is educate them so the next guy who saved 10 years to go on a special Sonora mule deer hunt doesn’t get ripped off.  I did watch the guy who bought this hunt at this years auction and I felt really bad for him.  Chances are he will google Carlos and read this, if you are, I am sorry dude.

Okay, now that we got all the logistics out of the way, and all the airline tickets booked.  Lets get to the meat and potatoes, the actual hunt itself.

We arrived in Hermosillo, Mexico on Jan. 3rd.  If you have never gone to Mexico hunting, keep in mind that traveling inside Mexico with a weapon is a chore.  They speak little English, and if your paperwork doesn’t match exactly to what you brought in, they confiscate it.  In my case, the paperwork from the guide was incorrect so they took all my ammo but 20 rounds.  Okay, I can deal with it.  We came out to the lobby after 1.5 hours of weapon procession, which is the norm by the way.  While in line, I met this old boy who asked me who I was hunting with, and he rolled his eyes and gasped.  I said “Do you know of him?”  He replied “Yes, everyone knows of him unfortunately.”  Then they called my name so I didn’t get to finish the conversation, but my gut was telling me I was in for a two week ride.  Carlos met us at the airport in a Durango for six of us and a small wooden trailer, uncovered, with our sleeping bags, weapons, and gear.  We drove for almost two hours before coming to a dirt road that started our 1 hour dirt road trip to the private ranch.  When we were about 2 miles from the ranch house he mentioned that it was  a working cattle ranch.  I replied something to the effect that he had not mentioned that when we booked.  When we arrived to the small ranch house, it was located 40 yards away from a cattle feed lot for small steers.  That means you would be smelling them and dealing with flies constantly.


The house was dirty, with no place to sit because Carlos added two bunk beds in the living room that was connected to kitchen.  It had one bathroom and our bedroom still had the rancher clothes laying all over the place.  It was by far the dirtiest hunting lodge I have attended in all of Mexico.  This was also off the grid, so Carlos brought a large generator that he conveniently placed right by the door so we couldn’t even speak to each other.  “Man, I hope the hunting is good.” I thought to myself.  The next morning, Carlos asked me for the additional 600 dollars that they made a mistake on billing me incorrectly.  I said I had a company check, but he wanted cash.  Probably to pay his guides for actually coming to camp, I am not sure.  I only know he wanted it before we began hunting.


We ate some food that the cooks had made.  My Spanish was good enough to understand that they were frustrated with the little amount of food they had to feed 18 people for a week.  Later I learn he spent 350 dollars on food, for 18 people for a week.  I know that because the guide that was with him, who refuses to ever work for him again, told me that.  He was the one who later got sick from drinking water that was not safe.  Carlos didn’t want to spend money for bottled water so he brought empty bottles to refill them from a water source.  Did I mention that we were off the grid, and one bathroom for 18 people?  The toilet only works when the generator is on, so you can imagine what the bathroom looked like on the second day.  Prison has better looking bathrooms.

The next morning we awoke to warm weather, you need really cold weather in Mexico to make those bucks go into rut.  They made us tortillas with potatoes and a little meat (very little meat)  and sent us on our way.  The vehicles were very old, and not very many things worked on them.  We climbed up into the racks and headed out.  The first thing I noticed was that the grass everywhere was over grazed by the numerous amounts of cattle.  There was cattle everywhere you turned a corner.  I remembered thinking to myself that this was going to be a waste of time, but consciously trying to remain optimistic because I had clients with me as well.  We drove around “high racking” and only saw a doe.  At around 11:15 the vehicle stopped and the three men climbed out and asked me in Spanish if we were hungry.  We sat up in the rack in the sun for three hours while they took their lunch and siesta.  Later I find out that Carlos does not want us to come back for lunch because he didn’t want to feed everyone a warm lunch, it would cost more.  We did this for two days, and then instructed our drivers to take us back to headquarters if we were just gonna sit in the sun for 3 hours.  We spent 2.5 days high racking in our vehicle and never saw one animal (besides a beef cow).  We finally all went on foot and the four of us racked up mile upon mile hunting and there was no sign, no tracks, no deer poop, no rubs and NO deer.   The guides knew it too, you could tell by their frustration they did not even try to remain quiet walking they just cruised thru the desert on a mission to return to camp.

After the third day, the guides took us to another property on the other side of the mountain thru a very small Mexican town I forgot the name of.  We got two flat tires and had to stop in town for a few hours while they repaired them.  I got to talking to some of the locals that told me that we are hunting what is called “Community land.”  As he explained it to me is that the town has tags for most of the acreage and Carlos bought them from the town for a cheaper price than leasing property from a rancher.  He also said that anyone in the community can run their cows on the property and some can also hunt.  It was all making sense to me, this outfitter was so cheap that he would purchase tags for cheap and sell the hunt as if it was actually on 70,000 acres of private land, because most Americans would not know the difference.  The guides all realized as well that they were wasting their time looking for Bucks, they all knew the program and were very frustrated, almost all of them said they would never come back and work for this outfitter.  I also think that Carlos doesn’t specialize in repeat hunters, I think after a week they all realize that they had been sold Ocean Front Property in Arizona.  However, there are little or no reviews on line that evaluate all the Mexican outfitters, or give feed back on hunters experience.

We came back to the cowboys cutting the nuts off the young bulls.  They didn’t even clean them, just threw them on the bbq.  The guides were ecstatic and grabbed tortillas and hot sauce and went to work eating.



Just so you know, I have eaten a lot of Rocky Mt. Oysters in my time, but you actually clean them before grilling.  These are cut right off and just tossed on the grill.  It smelled horrible, but the guides were starving so I understood.

We decided to leave a day early, but the boys thought they would go out for a morning hunt and low and behold they found a 25 inch buck on the farthest corner of the property that actually was not grazed yet. A little 40 acre parcel.  The buck had just came off the neighbor property and was 2 feet inside our fence.  That was the only buck we saw for 45k of investment for flights, accommodations in Hermosillo, and the expensive lack luster hunt we went on.

We had new hunters arriving in Hermosillo for the coues deer hunt.  The mule deer hunters were heading home.  We were all in the hotel when Carlos came back with another Mexican outfitter, Erwin.  He said “This is who you are hunting with, have a great time.”  We all went to a steak dinner, and the next morning we left with Erwin to go to his ranch.  This time we went to Costco and filled up with a cooler full of meat and food before heading off to the next “lodge”.  There was no way we were gonna do what we just did at Carlos Camp.  The ladies did their best cooking what they had at Carlos Camp, I bet if they actually had the staples to cook with they would have produced some great food.  We tipped them well because they really worked their butts off trying to pull a rabbit out of Carlos cheap hat.  At any rate, Erwin looked perplexed and strange when he saw us loading all the food into the cooler.  We got to his camp and it was clean, and his chef was there with excellent food.  Erwin said to me “You know…we do have meat here.”  We had also bought chairs to sit on.  I replied “Erwin, other than a cheap flat flap steak (we had twice) we haven’t seen meat in five days, and haven’t had a place to sit either. So we brought some great steaks for everyone (staff and all) to eat and some chairs you can have after we are done hunting.”  Erwin had good vehicles, comfortable lodge, great chef, great hunting, and guides that worked hard.  We really enjoyed it and would return to hunt with him anytime.  He valued his customers and really wanted to work hard to make sure people returned.  He was proud of his operation and it really showed.  I would endorse his operation, but he will be the first one to tell you that $8500.00 is way to much for a coues buck, even a trophy.  We did pretty good with Erwin, saw lots of bucks and really enjoyed our experience.  Ole Carlos pulled one over on us, he later even called the guide to get our chairs back and told him that we gave them to him.  Which was another lie, I think that Carlos has a hard time determining what is the truth and what is not the truth.  I think he feels comfortable with the later.

I guess in retrospect, I learned a lot from this.  It is too bad that SCI never responded to my email.  I guess it does not surprise me, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and I doubt we will ever purchase anything more at their auction or even attend their events.  I am sure they do not care, someone else will replace me.  I also learned that though trust is an important attribute, you should always verify and do your research before purchasing or paying a deposit.  I also believe that you should be able to research a good outfitter, if you do not find anything or good references then do not book them, that is why I am writing this.  I am just telling you my honest experience that happened to me and clients, I feel like I owe that to the hunting community.  Hopefully, someone doesn’t save for years to go on an epic hunt and get ripped off, heck you couldn’t have paid me to go on that mule deer hunt, that’s a week I will never get back.  If I wrote this piece for one person that googled Big Game Outfitters, it was worth the time to write it all down and share it.

A humbled (but wiser),

Hunting Chef





Elk Shepherd Pie for St. Paddy

Hello everyone, sorry this took until late April to post.  But for all you Irish brothers and sisters out there, this one is for you.  St. Paddy’s day is a special day for us Nanna’s.  I have a tradition that I have been doing for as long as I can remember.  At exactly 11:00 on the dot, I head to Clancy’s in Sherwood to have my traditional corn beef and cabbage lunch, drink a green beer, and listen to the boys on their bag pipes and drums.  I love it.  Then that night, I make something special for my family.  This one, is absolutely awesome.  Lets get rolling.


First we pour a little Guinness and turn on some music.


  • 1 1/2 pounds of Elk burger, you can use beef if you want.
  • 2 TBS of water
  • 2 1/2 pounds peeled russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 farm egg yolk
  • 6 scallions
  • 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz. of your favorite mushroom
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS of tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS Madeira
  • 2 TBS all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 2 teaspoon of corn starch

Now, you need to make a decision here.  You can double the recipe and vac pack remainder then freeze for later to make another pie or save it for something later.   I would suggest that, because I have another little trick for you coming up.  It sort of looks like this:

You can make these little bombs….I’m so hungry typing this I can hardly stand it.IMG_7808

We will get to these later.  Lets get rolling on cooking the Shepherds pie.

Take the elk burger, and add the 2 tablespoons of water and baking soda, toss some salt and pepper in with it and mix it well and let sit for about 20 minutes.  People always ask how much salt and pepper?  You know what you like so sprinkle it on like you own it.

Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt (I tell you here how much but you are not eating it) and add water to cover taters and cook for ten minutes until potatoes are done and tender.  Drain the potatoes.

In a bowl, combine milk and egg yolk and mix together then add potatoes and begin mashing them.  Stir in scallions and blue cheese, salt and pepper.  Mash until smooth.

You are probably asking “Why the blue cheese?” It gives a unique bite to it that I just love.  Trust me on this, the combined flavors are going to be perfect harmony. Cover and set aside.


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add chopped onion and mushrooms and cook until they are soft about 4 to 6 minutes. Chop the potatoes into smaller chunks than you see in this photo.


Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook until bottom of skillet is dark brown.  Stir in madeira,  scraping up any browned bits, and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.

Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in broth, Worcestershire, bay leaf, thyme, and carrots.  Bring to a boil and scraping up any brown bits.

Reduce the heat to medium low.  Pinch the beef to 2 inch pieces and lay on top of mixture in skillet.  Cover and cook until beef is cooked through,10-12 minutes, while stirring and breaking up meat chunks.  Combine cornstarch and remaining 2 teaspoons of water in bowl, stir it, then add it to the bowl.  Continue to simmer until sauce thickens up  Remove thyme, and bay leaf.  Add cayenne pepper to taste, along with salt and pepper.  I like a little heat to it, and that will pair well with the blue cheese mashed potatoes.  Adds a little depth.


Put the mixture into a pie dish.  Then put a shamrock necklace next to it so people don’t focus on the ugly pie dish thing you are rocking.


Place the mashed potatoes into a zip lock bag, snip the corner off one end and create a 1 inch opening, then pipe the potatoes evenly then spread them with the back of a large spoon.  Megan used a fork on top to make a shamrock. Place on cookie pan so it doesn’t over flow, and broil for 10 minutes until brown.  If you are going to wait and cook later, bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Let cool slightly, then serve.  Get ready for your St. Paddy Palate to get blown away.

IMG_7821Now don’t you want to take a bite of this?IMG_7820Okay, now we come to the part of the story if you actually made extra filling?  You can freeze it and make another one later, or you can get two things of frozen pie crust and party on.

Thaw the pie crust, and get a package of sliced American cheese.  It melts better and has better consistency.  Get a nice 3 1/2-4 inch biscuit cutter.  Put some flour down on work place.


Here is my oldest Irish American daughter, Megan placing cheese on top of the mixture.

Mix one egg with one tablespoon of water.  Place one round down, add a scoop of mixture, put cheese on top and place another round on top. Use a fork to go around the sides.


Lay them on top of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and take egg wash mixture and paint the top. Start oven at 375 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


These little pieces of gold are amazing.  They got ate up over two days.  They were even better the next day.

That is a great St. Paddy Day.

Hunting Chef


Seared Duck Breast with a Cherry Port Sauce

One of the first things I look for on a menu at a great restaurant is Duck Breast. I absolutely love it if it is cooked to perfection (medium rare with a crisp crust).  I think you can eat it without sauce, because it keeps it crispy.  This is so easy, that I think anyone can do it if they are patient.  I know that I am suppose to use Duck that I hunt, but the best way is to buy a farm raised one that actually has fat and does not taste like mud.  Use that wild stuff for pepperoni.


  • 2 nice duck breast with skin on
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Shallot
  • 2 tablespoons of Chilled butter
  • 1 tablespoon of quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of Chicken Stock
  • 10 halved pitted dark red cherries (if they are not in season buy frozen)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tawny port
  • 1 tablespoon of good local honey
  • Sea salt and pepper

Place the duck breast on a plate and take a sharp knife and score the fat side in an X fashion then sprinkle both sides of the breast with Sea Salt and Pepper.

Score the fat with X fashion and salt and pepper both sides
Score the fat with X fashion and salt and pepper both sides.

Melt butter and add olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add duck, skin side down and let it brown (do not keep picking it up) takes about 5 minutes.  Turn duck breast over, reduce heat to medium and cook until brown and desired tenderness.  I usually shoot for 130 degrees on my meat pen.

Perfectly seared and nicely brown.
Perfectly seared and nicely brown.

Transfer to a plate and do a loose tent over them with aluminum foil.  If the temp is past 135 degrees do not tent, just let them sit.

Have all your ingredients on standby for your sauce.
Have all your ingredients on standby for your sauce.

Keep about 2 tablespoons of the dripping from the duck in the skillet.  Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat for about a minute.  Add broth, cherries, Tawny Port and honey.  Increase to high heat and bring to boil until it is thick like a glaze.  Add tablespoon of butter, and whisk.  Taste the sauce, add salt and pepper if to your desire.

Cut the meat and admire the perfect medium rare temperature
Cut the meat and admire the perfect medium rare temperature.

Plate the duck and pour the sauce over the duck.

Bam! Serve immediately!!
Bam! Serve immediately!!

It is that easy folks.  Trust me you will not disappoint anyone at the table.  It is amazing.  I am going to try for some different non sweet sauces to drizzle in the near future.  I hope you enjoy.


Hunting Chef

Jason’s Hood Canal BBQ Shrimp Cocktail

As you all already know, I love the Hood Canal.  I love it not only for its grand beauty and great people, but the product the area produces with the best oysters, crab, and shrimp I have ever had.  The water is so clear, that it is one of the hot spots for diving in the Northwest.  It is also deep where the spotted shrimp like to live.  The beach line is full of Kumamoto Oysters that the Japanese planted over 100 years ago.  They are the best oysters that I have ever eaten and I can honestly say as an Oyster lover I have ate over 1000 of them….easily.   I think I ate 200 of them in Nashville in a week early this year.

Fresh oysters lining the beach.
Fresh oysters lining the beach.

The beaches are privately owned, and the owners protect their bounty.  However, we have a friend Jason that is family have about 100 yards of oyster beach land and his family was nice enough to let us come grab a load.  They had no idea what kind of Pirates we were.

Pirates filling up a cooler of Oyster bounty
Pirates filling up a cooler of Oyster bounty.  That is Trevor and Big Wayne.  Big Wayne is watching Trevor like a hawk, because he likes to grab the oysters that have 12 attached to a rock.  We like them individual and easy to open.

Jason has been raving about this appetizer he does for awhile now, and after getting our limits on Shrimp that morning he came in bouncing in with some oysters under his arm and a bag of fresh peeled shrimp and some lemons in the other.

Spotted Shrimp
Spotted Shrimp are pretty good size.

We always get our shrimp limit, which is 80 per person.  But I am always eager to try something new that involves fresh shrimp.

Jason’s Hood Canal BBQ Shrimp Cocktail

  • 1/2 TBS of butter
  • 1 TSP of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Good squeeze of fresh lemon
  • 1 TSP of chopped parsley

So you take a fresh oyster, shuck it, then shoot the oyster.  Leave a little of that fresh water from the sea in the shell.  Only if it is fresh though.  Jason is very particular about that part.  Add the butter, garlic, shrimp to the shell and put on the BBQ.  We are using the Summer Tide Resort and Marina BBQ because we are staying there and it has a three bedroom suite, with full kitchen, BBQ and deck.  We love the owner Bev, she is so nice to us and loves us like we were her own sons.  I love the resort, small but nice and the fire pit gathers all of the people for the evening for cocktails and conversation.  (

Once the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes, give a little squeeze of lemon on top and dash of parsley.

Dash of chopped parsley and squeeze of lemon.
Dash of chopped parsley and squeeze of lemon.
Grab a fork and start eating.
Grab a fork and start eating.  We didn’t have parsley so we used chopped green onions instead.

Jason was so proud and we truly all enjoyed his dish, otherwise it wouldn’t have made it to the Hunting Chef.

Jason with his appetizer.  We shaded out his eyes with a  false shadow because he is wanted in 9 states.
Jason with his appetizer. We shaded out his eyes with a false shadow because he is wanted in 9 states.

A very simple dish, but very tasty with lots of simple straight from the ocean flavors.  The little oyster juice left in the oyster was key.  Very nicely done my friend.

Are you hungry yet?
Are you hungry yet?

I cannot wait to return to the Hood Canal.  I say that every time I write about it, it is truly a magical place with excellent seafood.

Get out there and live.

The Hunting Chef


Pasta Carbonara with Wild Boar and Italian White Truffle

I love this classic Italian dish.  I was trying to get my oldest daughter Megan to research this for me when she was in Italy for 6 months.  It is simple, and taste even better the next day.  I know this because I go on a pasta bender for 3 days after I make it.  So I got a White Truffle from Italy in the mail the other day and this was the first dish I was going to use it on.  I was so excited I ran out to the chicken coop to get some fresh farm eggs because that is the key ingredient to making this dish….awesome.

Mady was right there with me, because she loves pasta and her chickens.

Mady and her chickens, she is holding her favorite....DUCKY.
Mady and her chickens, she is holding her favorite….DUCKY.  She loves her Nigerian goats as well.

Pasta Carbonara with Wild Boar and White Italian Truffles

  • 12 ounces of fresh pasta, I used linguine but you can use any variety….as long as it is fresh.
  • 8 pieces of Wild Boar bacon diced small (you can use pancetta or just regular good bacon).
  • 1/2 whole sweet onion (medium size) diced.
  • 3 chopped cloves of garlic.
  • 3 fresh farm eggs (call Mady she sells them for five bucks a dozen, probably cost me 12 bucks a dozen)
  • 3/4 cups of grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cups of peas (I usually add more because I love them)
  • Sea salt and Pepper to taste.
  • White Italian Truffle to grate over the top.

Fry the bacon in a nice pan, if you are using wild boar you will have to add olive oil because of the lack of fat.  Once the bacon is crisp remove from pan.  If you have a lot of bacon oil only keep enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until golden brown and set aside.

Onions are golden brown, bacon is ready for later.
Onions are golden brown, bacon is ready for later.

Boil a pot of water and add a little olive oil.  Cook the pasta until done, then drain and keep one cup of the pasta water for future use.  In a bowl whip the eggs, parmesan cheese, and mix until smooth, then slowly pour the cream in while whipping.  Hit it with a  dash of salt and pepper, don’t be scared.

Put the drained pasta in a bowl and slowly add the whipped egg mixture and toss with the noodles.  If the consistency is too thick add a little pasta water….I said a little at a time.  I never have to do this, but I am giving you the option.

Add the onions, bacon, defrosted peas to the dish and toss.  Plate the pasta, I give a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese then I take my truffle slicer.

The infamous Italian White Truffle sent to me from Italy.
The infamous Italian White Truffle sent to me from Italy.

Grate some truffles right on top of the pasta and serve.  This is gonna blow your mind folks.  One of my favorite pasta dishes of all time and it is easy smeezy to make.

Pasta Carbonara with Wild Boar Bacon and White Truffle
Pasta Carbonara with Wild Boar Bacon and White Truffle.

Feel free to use Oregon black truffles if you have them.  I can tell you this people…..I am getting a truffle dog.

Hope you enjoy.

The Hunting Chef